Frank Lloyd Wright Designs That Were Not Built

Frank Lloyd Wright is widely considered one of the greatest architects to have ever lived. His designs are legendary – from Fallingwater to the Robie House to the Guggenheim. His houses and designs had a distinctive look that came to be known as the “Prairie Style“. In fact, several of his homes have hit the market recently and the prospect of living in one of his homes has been a secret dream of mine.

With all the distinctive homes and designs of his that did get made, there were even more that never got made. So architect David Romero decided to do something about that by using computer generated models to create visuals of some of distinctive designs of his that never became reality. Many of the renderings can be found at his site Hooked On The Past and his Flickr gallery. My personal favorite is the rendering of the National Life Insurance Building in Chicago, which is the last of the examples below.

The Gordon Strong Automobile Objective by David Romero
A rendering of the Arizona State Capitol interior by David Romero
A rendering of the National Life Insurance Building by David Romero

Joan Didion’s 1961 Essay on Self Respect

Was reading through a recent edition of MG Siegler’s newsletter where he shared what appears to be (i.e. I’ve never read it or heard of it before, not that my ignorance should be any marker of its importance) a seminal 1961 article in Vogue Magazine from Joan Didion titled ‘On Self Respect’, which I found to be as seminal as advertised.

There is a common superstition that “self-respect” is a kind of charm against snakes, something that keeps those who have it locked in some unblighted Eden, out of strange beds, ambivalent conversations, and trouble in general. It does not at all. It has nothing to do with the face of things, but concerns instead a separate peace, a private reconciliation. Although the careless, suicidal Julian English in Appointment in Samarra and the careless, incurably dishonest Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby seem equally improbable candidates for self-respect, Jordan Baker had it, Julian English did not. With that genius for accommodation more often seen in women than in men, Jordan took her own measure, made her own peace, avoided threats to that peace: “I hate careless people,” she told Nick Carraway. “It takes two to make an accident.”

Like Jordan Baker, people with self-respect have the courage of their mistakes. They know the price of things. If they choose to commit adultery, they do not then go running, in an access of bad conscience, to receive absolution from the wronged parties; nor do they complain unduly of the unfairness, the undeserved embarrassment, of being named corespondent. If they choose to forego their work—say it is screenwriting—in favor of sitting around the Algonquin bar, they do not then wonder bitterly why the Hacketts, and not they, did Anne Frank.

Joan Didion, 1961

It is a short essay that packs a punch. Worth the read.

AI Is Freaking People Out

The release of Chat GPT by Open AI has struck a nerve with just about everyone. Even Google is freaking out, going so far as bringing in their founders to review all of Google’s AI projects

Last month, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s founders, held several meetings with company executives. The topic: a rival’s new chatbot, a clever A.I. product that looked as if it could be the first notable threat in decades to Google’s $149 billion search business.

Mr. Page and Mr. Brin, who had not spent much time at Google since they left their daily roles with the company in 2019, reviewed Google’s artificial intelligence product strategy, according to two people with knowledge of the meetings who were not allowed to discuss them. They approved plans and pitched ideas to put more chatbot features into Google’s search engine. And they offered advice to company leaders, who have put A.I. front and center in their plans.

The re-engagement of Google’s founders, at the invitation of the company’s current chief executive, Sundar Pichai, emphasized the urgency felt among many Google executives about artificial intelligence and that chatbot, ChatGPT.

NY Times

It is not just Google who are realizing how transformative and ‘cage rattling’ tools like Chat GPT. Universities and colleges all around the world are freaking out about how Chat GPT can spit out a well written dissertation about just about anything, raising alarm bells of how students could rely on such technology to help them get their homework done.

Even beyond text, AI is creating art, visuals and virtual worlds that just don’t exist. Check out this Instagram called The Visual Dome. None of it is real.

The irony is that people have been interacting with AI technology for years – think about how you have interacted with most big banks or other companies when you call their Customer Service systems. They have been using AI generated capabilities to handle a wide range of inquiries from people before ever reaching a human representative.

I’ve seen several articles cite technology and business leaders cite the time they first saw and interacted with distinctive and game changing technologies that have fundamentally altered the world – Netscape Navigator, and the iPhone being two of them – and they have all said that Chat GPT is another one of those game changers. The future is the present, folks.

Long Live Vinyl

Via Statista

In an all digital world, vinyl records continue to make quite the comeback since the trend started to take hold in 2006. As a percentage of albums purchased, vinyl records share of sales continues to grow. Yet when you put it in the broader context of all digital consumption and downloads of single tracks, vinyl represents less than 5% of all sales. From Statista:

So how big is vinyl’s comeback really? Should we all dust off our old record players to prepare for the analog future of music? According to Luminate’s 2022 Year-End Music Report, LPs accounted for 43 percent of album sales in the United States last year, which is quite substantial. Factoring in streaming and downloads of single tracks, however, that number drops to less than 5 percent of album equivalent music consumption, which puts things in perspective.

Statista

Just Give Us Your First Born

Sometimes you come across an article or story that just generates a visceral reaction. And this seemingly innocuous article on Vox titled ‘Job interviews are a nightmare — and only getting worse’ was one of those articles. I have some thoughts and opinions.

The article is talking about the sheer absurdity that job interviewing has turned into. And honestly, this is not a trend or a situation that has just materialized recently – it has been a slow burn that has gotten impossibly worse over the past 10-20 years.

Job-seeking can be a real exercise in immersive futility. It often feels like you’re tossing your resume into the abyss and praying to the recruitment gods for a response. If and when you get that response, the landscape doesn’t always get easier. Companies are seemingly coming up with new, higher, and harder hoops to jump through at every turn. That translates to endless rounds of interviews, various arbitrary tests, and complex exercises and presentations that entail hours of work and prep. There can be good reasons for firms to do this — they really want to make sure they get the right person, and they’re trying to reduce biases — but it’s hard not to feel like it can just be too much.

Emily Stewart, Vox Media

As illustrated in the article, the pervading trend from companies big and small includes meeting 10-20 people over the course of several weeks, having marathon all day interview sessions where you sit in a room and deal with a cattle call of different ‘team members’ and ‘stakeholders’ from across the organization you’re interviewing with. And logic just tells you that there has to be an inverse relationship with the liklihood of being hired relative to the amount of people you meet during the process. In every organization, each individual has their own agenda and priorities that is in part dictated by the role they hold. So when those people are meeting candidates – for their direct team or for teams adjacent to their own – those folks evaluate the candidate relative to what their goals and priorities are. So it makes logical sense that with so many competing agendas, with so many individual personalities, the chances that a candidate satisfies every single one of those people gets lower and lower with each interview. And add on top of this, the absurdity of some of the questions, requests and ‘assignments’ that some comapnies ask candidates to partake in, and you are left with an impossible labyrinth to navigate. From the article:

Reporting for this story, I heard anecdotes about hiring processes that ranged from irksome to hellish. One recent graduate described having to take a series of intelligence tests, go through two interviews, and provide five references — all of whom were asked to complete a 15-minute questionnaire — for an entry-level position at a nonprofit he was told he didn’t get two months later. One woman’s job offer was contingent on her getting a reference from her current manager, who wasn’t aware she was on the hunt for a job.

Another man was told to start looking for apartments across the country after being flown out for a final interview, only to follow up a couple of weeks later and learn that the recruiter simply forget to tell him he hadn’t gotten the job. “My interviewing experiences have been worse than dating, with the ghosting and non-responses,” he said.

Among friends and colleagues, swapping interview horror stories can turn into a sort of sport. One of my former coworkers was asked to build out an entire content strategy for a popular financial newsletter and work with the team in the office. She was unemployed and scared, so she felt like she had no choice but to sign a waiver agreeing for her work to be used for free — work that was apparently good enough to be sent out to their readers but not to land her a position with the company. Looking at the company’s Glassdoor reviews, it’s obvious she’s not the only one who’s been subject to this sort of treatment.

“There’s a fine line between appropriate and inappropriate,” said Sondra Levitt, a leadership and career coach with Korn Ferry, an organizational consulting firm. For example, it might make perfect sense for a company to ask a candidate, especially at the executive level, to do some sort of presentation about their vision and what they want to accomplish. Where it gets hairy is when the company asks a candidate to create, produce, and submit a full-blown marketing campaign, which happened to one of Levitt’s clients recently. “The candidate felt like they were just trying to get free information and free work through the interview process,” Levitt said.

Emily Stewart, Vox Media

I’ve been out of work a couple of times in my career and reading this article just made me shudder as I recalled similar nightmares – from being ghosted after several interviews, to organizations failing to inform you they have gone in a different direction, to being asked to pull together strategies and presentations to illustrate how you would tackle a problem. Probably the most frustrating aspect of the way interviewing is handled today is the fact that the organizations will just not tell you why you didn’t get the role – mostly because they are afraid of violating laws (which, to be fair, does have some merit). They deliver some generic bs line or a 3 line auto generated email from Workday saying ‘Thanks for visiting but you didn’t get the job’ that leave you questioning your sanity when you know you were qualified or even over-qualified for the role. You almost have to be a unicorn to survive the process and actually get hired. Many times, after the fact, I would call the recruiter and/or the hiring manager and ask them directly why I didn’t win the job or ask them to explain to me where my experience fell short or which of my responses to interview questions didn’t hit the mark, all in an effort to self-improve and get better at how I approached the interview process. It was rare when I got an honest answer.

As a company, you clearly want to ensure that you make the right hiring decisions and develop a strong and positive working environment. What is clear from reading the article, and from personal experience, is that companies have taken this to an extreme that results in everyone losing. We’re all adults here – we all have our own jobs and lives. I’d much rather be told early on that it is not a fit, so we can all move on. Dragging the process out by having useless additional meetings, or ghosting candidates with no explaination or update is just unprofessional and in poor form.

New Year’s Resolution: More Posts In 2023

I’m going to try to do more writing and contribute more posts here this year. I’ve been circling around this notion for the past several months, buoyed in part by all the turmoil at Twitter. My motivation was given an additional boost by this article on The Verge that reminisced for the Internet days of old when folks had their personal homepages on Tripod or Geocities, where you could control your own voice and, most importantly, your own content. Where people were sharing thoughts and quirky stories that were longer than 140 characters, and where these communities were actually communities and not the hell-scapes that many social media networks have since become.

The biggest reason personal blogs need to make a comeback is a simple one: we should all be in control of our own platforms. 

If what is happening on Twitter hasn’t demonstrated it, our relationship with these social media platforms is tenuous at best. The thing we are using to build our popularity today could very well be destroyed and disappear from the internet tomorrow, and then what? 

What happens to all the content you have created? Where will the archive of all your funny memes and jokes be? What is going to happen to all those selfies you felt cute in but didn’t delete later? 

The answer is we don’t know because we don’t control Twitter (or Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat or TikTok). If one of these companies decided to shut down their service permanently, there would be nothing we could do about it. 

Owning your content and controlling your platform is essential, and having a personal blog is a great way to do that. 

The Verge

The Verge article hit home for me because in the early 2000’s, I felt such a sense of engagement and discovery as the web was maturing, as “new” technologies and capabilities such as CSS, and RSS were enabling such neat things to develop online, and new communities like Flickr (remember them! Wow, did they miss the mobile boat!) were transforming how we interacted online.

For me and this site, it has actually been going since 2003 although it has never had a huge following, probably in part because I need to do a better job of being consistent in the frequency and volume of my posts. I aspire to compete with Jason Kottke, Andy Baio, John Gruber and others, to name a few. And I know I have a long way to go to get there. I’m going to try to find quirky stories, unique items, and do my best to share my ‘mildly opinionated’ thoughts on some of the things that are shaping our society these days. And we’ll see where it takes us.

What I have thoroughly enjoyed these past few years has been how a small community of fans and enthusiasts has developed as a result of all the Desktop Wallpapers that I have created and shared on this site over the years. I started that journey 6 or 7 years ago when I became frustrated with all the terrible looking wallpapers that were out there for the sports teams that I follow. In addition, I fell in love with all the wonderfully quirky and simple wallpapers on the site Simple Desktops and thought, I could take that aesthetic and apply it to my favorite sports teams. I then noticed that the teams in the English Premier League had really interesting uniforms/kits and thought it would be cool to mimic them but on computer wallpapers. And from there, it exploded. So if you are new to my site and community, check out some of the galleries of wallpapers that I have created and download whichever ones you find compelling.

And with that, I’m calling it a night and going to watch some TV and/or movies.

Disgruntled Soccer Mom

Image via Sports Illustrated

If you thought the politics of a disgruntled suburban soccer mom’s vitriol against the town’s soccer coach was bad, you clearly did not play soccer in suburban NJ, because those moms will take on the US Men’s National team coach (paywall) without blinking an eye, as Danielle Reyna did to Craig Berhalter:

To set the record straight, I [Danielle Reyna] did call (U.S. Soccer sporting director) Earnie Stewart on December 11, just after the news broke that Gregg had made negative statements about my son Gio at a leadership conference, I have known Earnie for years and consider him to be a close friend. I wanted to let him know that I was absolutely outraged and devasted that Gio had been put in such a terrible position, and that I felt very personally betrayed by the actions of someone my family had considered a friend for decades. As part of that conversation, I told Earnie that I thought it was especially unfair that Gio, who had apologized for acting immaturely about his playing time, was still being dragged through the mud when Gregg had asked for and received forgiveness for doing something so much worse at the same age. Without going into detail, the statements from yesterday significantly minimize the abuse on the night in question. Rosalind Berhalter was my roommate, teammate and best friend, and I supported her through the trauma that followed. It took a long time for me to forgive and accept Gregg afterward, but I worked hard to give him grace, and ultimately made both of them and their kids a huge part of my family’s life. I would have wanted and expected him to give the same grace to Gio. This is why the current situation is so very hurtful and hard. At the time I called Earnie, many people were trashing Gio on social media due to Gregg’s comments, and I didn’t know when or if this would stop. I just wanted Earnie to help make sure that there would be no further unwarranted attacks on my son. I thought our conversation would remain in confidence, and it didn’t occur to me at the time that anything I said could lead to an investigation. I’m not criticizing Earnie here. “I very much commend the recent efforts by U.S. Soccer to address abuse of women players, and I understand now he had an obligation to investigate what I shared. But I want to be very clear that I did not ask for Gregg to be fired, I did not make any threats, and I don’t know anything about any blackmail attempts, nor have I ever had any discussions about anyone else on Gregg’s staff — I don’t know any of the other coaches. I did not communicate with anyone in U.S. Soccer about this matter before December 11, and no one else in my family has made any statements to U.S. Soccer regarding Gregg’s past at all.  I’m sorry that this information became public, and I regret that I played a role in something that could reopen wounds from the past.

The Athletic (paywall)

Now, the USMNT did not have any chance of seriously competing for this year’s World Cup in Qatar. It was a ‘we’re happy to be here’ appearance and anything beyond making the knockout stage was playing with house money (being that the USMNT didn’t even qualify in 2018). Would playing Gio Reyna have changed the USMNT’s outcome? I’m guessing probably not. The Netherlands team the US lost to was an exceptionally well coached team that was playing chess compared to Berhalter’s checkers strategy. Playing Gio may have made the matches in the knockout stage a little easier however I’m not convinced he would have been a difference maker vs the Netherlands, much less the next round opponent Argentina should we have advanced.

The way Berhalter handled the Gio Reyna situation was a failure of leadership to not clearly and truthfully communicate the reasons for his decisions to the player, the press and by proxy, the fans of the USMNT team. I can also relate to Mrs. Reyna’s perception on how Coach Berhalter’s negative statements about Gio in the conference she noted above were unfair, damaging, and, frankly, an immature way of handling the situation. Reading between the lines, it seems that the long and deep relationship that the Reyna and Berhalter families had probably gave Gio and his parents the perception that he was going to get ample playing time in the World Cup and when things didn’t go exactly to Gio’s liking, there was likely a sense of disappointment that clearly went south quickly. The way Gio reacted was immature, yet even though he has been playing soccer at some of the highest levels in the world, let’s remember that he’s still all of 20 years old. Suburban soccer mom’s can be a nasty bunch sometimes, and even when you’re the Head Coach of the freaking US Men’s National Team, you can be taken to the woodshed by a mom who’s pissed her son did not play as much as they would have liked.

Bell Works

Photos from a recent trip to the old Bell Labs building – now called Bell Works – here in New Jersey. This building was originally build for Bell Labs, the innovative division of what is now AT&T. It was a research and development office that created such (ahem) minor innovations as the transistor, the laser, the concept of cellular communications, and the solar cell . The building and campus was put on the list of 10 most endangered historic sites in 2007 and was under threat of being razed in favor of houses and residential units. In 2013, the 500+ acre campus was purchased by Somerset Development Corporation and the facility was re-purposed into a multi-purpose living and working space.

The renovated interior space is just spectacular. It has restaurants, office space, recreational areas including simulated Golf courses and an indoor full size basketball court. It is really cool and a place I plan on going back to soon.

And for you Severance fans, yes, this is the same place that they used for some exterior and interior shots of Lumen Industries.

Photos From World Cup Finals

The first World Cup in Uruguay – 1930. Image: BBC

On the eve of the 2022 World Cup, thought I would share an amazing gallery the BBC published detailing photos from World Cup finals of the past, dating all the way back to the first World Cup final that took place in 1930 in Uruguay.

Over the past 92 years photographers have been in attendance at 21 finals to record what they witness – the colour, the excitement, the goals and the glamour. BBC Sport has partnered with Getty Images to bring you the best photos.

The 1930 showdown was between the hosts and Argentina in a rematch of the gold-medal game at the 1928 Olympics, which was won by Uruguay.

Thirteen teams took part in the inaugural tournament. Four arrived from Europe on the same boat, training on the top deck as they travelled.

BBC
England’s only World Cup victory – 1960. Image: BBC

A Generous Gift

Yesterday, I was working from home and my wife texted me that a fairly large package had been delivered (I was on a Zoom call). I pondered this for a second and wondered if I was expecting anything of any significance and thought nothing much of it at the time. Later, when I was free, she brought the box down to the basement where my office/den/”man-cave” is. And again, I was still befuddled as to what this could be.

Now, as visitors to this site may know, I have a hobby of creating device/computer Desktop Wallpapers – something that started several years ago when I thought it would be cool to design backgrounds for English Premier League teams that matched their kit/jersey designs. Since then, I regularly get ‘special requests’ from people all across the internet that I do my best to fulfill. And on each of the Wallpaper pages on my site, I include some links to give people the opportunity to donate to me as a recognition of the time and effort it takes to make these items. One of the links I include is to my Amazon Wish List. And on my Wishlist, one of the items that I had innocently added was the Webaround Big Shot, a large green screen background that you can attach to the back of your desk chair in order to have a cleaner display of the background when on a Zoom call. So instead of having my basement showing behind me when on said Zoom call, I could have something like Coruscant (Star Wars) or hipster lofts or the skyline of NYC.

Of all the items on my Wishlist, this was the item that some anonymous person took the time, money and effort to order for me as a gift. I am assuming it is a gift from one of the many ‘regulars’ that solicit Wallpapers from me however I am not at all sure to be honest, as Amazon does not reveal who purchases things from your Wishlist. What I do know is that this person could easily have chosen from a long list of other items on my Wishlist that were far cheaper than what this item cost. I’m somewhat fascinated and intrigued as to why they chose this item compared to the others on my list. No matter, the generosity is noted!

So, whoever the individual is out there on the Internet who purchased this wonderful Webaround Big Shot green screen background that mounts on the back of my desk chair – I would like to send to you a hearty THANK YOU and a note that your gift is recognized and appreciated!!

Wizard of Oz Scarecrow and Tinman Scenes in 4K

Oriel Malik remastered a few scenes from the Wizard of Oz in 4K quality video and it is like watching the movie for the first time. The detail that you can see on the Scarecrow’s face is something I never noticed. And the artwork on the backdrops of the scene is also so vivid. Below is the scene of them meeting the Tin Man and the quality and detail is just as impressive – the scenery pops and it is transformative. There has long been a rumor that you can see one of the Munchkin actors hanging from a tree in the “Tinman” scene, however that rumor has long been debunked as instead being a bird from the LA Zoo being used as a prop.

Extinction, Meet Climate Change

Image via NPR.org

That big off-white thing sticking out of that bedrock is a tusk from a Wooly Mammoth. Yeah, those Wooly Mammoths from pre-historic days. A group of students from the University of Virginia were on a research trip to Alaska and they saw this while traveling down the Koyukuk River:

“We’re on this trip to basically to study the arctic, the idea of the arctic as a sanctuary,” said Epstein. “We did a river float trip, as part of what we’re doing and the mammoth tusk was pointed out to us. It’s amazing! During the time of the last glaciation and timing of the Bering Land Bridge, or what we call the mammoth steppe, that area was populated by lots of grazing animals, the mammoth being one of them. It’s not surprising that you’ll see this, but it’s also amazing to see in person.”

The metaphor that can be taken from this photo is not lost on me. This is especially true with water levels across several major rivers and lakes in North America at historic lows, exposing some amazing and sometimes grizzly finds – including two long dead bodies in Nevada’s Lake Mead.

Smashing Pumpkins, Before they were…

Before the Smashing Pumpkins were, well, The Smashing Pumpkins, they were a band out of Chicago trying to find their sound and looking to catch a break. This video (about 60 minutes in length) is from 1988 and was apparently filmed for a local Chicago cable access show (aka shows filmed out of people’s basements and broadcast on local cable before YouTube. Kids, ask your parents about it or go watch Wayne’s World) Pulse Basement Live. The sound of their music in this video is noticeably different than the sound that they developed in the later 1990s on albums like Siamese Dream, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and Adore. I can hear and feel the influence of 1980s bands like The Smiths in some of the earlier songs in the video. It feels like in real time, you are seeing them test new sounds and try to figure out what their sound should be. Really amazing time capsule video of one of the more influential bands of the 1990s.

Rich Strike! Oh my Goodness!

This video of yesterday’s Kentucky Derby is incredible. The eventual winner, Rich Strike, was 2 spots from dead last heading into the final turn – and an 80-1 long shot to boot – and then took off and passed the whole field like they were standing still. On top of all of this, the team managing this horse did not know that their horse was even in the field until Friday when another horse had to drop out.

Peak Snooker

Ronnie Sullivan clears the table in 5 minutes.

I don’t know all the rules of Snooker. Heck, I may not know all the rules about traditional eight ball pool. But what I can surmise from watching this 6 and a half minute video of Ronnie O’Sullivan clear the table in a Snooker World Championship match from 1997 is that this guy is damn good at what he does. This is a masterclass in billiards and how to set yourself up for the next shot.

The Return of Darwin’s Notebooks

Photo from The Guardian.

A bit over 20 years ago, some priceless notebooks from the famous biologist Charles Darwin were stolen from the main library at Cambridge University. After the staff of the library initially thought they were put back on the wrong shelf, they soon realized that they were in fact missing.

It was back in 2001 that the notebooks, which represent some of Darwin’s first inklings of his radical theory of evolution by natural selection, were originally found to be missing. They had been removed from storage to be photographed, and work was recorded as completed in November 2000. But during a subsequent routine check made in January 2001, it was found they had not been returned to their proper place. At the time staff believed they may have been mis-shelved.

Fast forward 20+ years, and whoever clipped them, had a change of heart and dropped them off in a bright pink bag with a little note wishing them a Happy Easter.

Surprisingly, there was no closed circuit camera footage in the area where the bag was dropped. The university is scouring other footage from the day they were returned in hopes of identifying the person who returned them.

The Gaps in The “Yellowjackets” Storyline

Over the course of the past two years, as we have all been home because of the pandemic, I’ve been consuming a lot of movies and TV. I have been diligent about checking out reviews and listening to critics before diving into new TV shows because I already am ‘in deep’ on too many TV shows. Whenever I engaged in any of the many ‘prestige’ television shows that are out there, a key criteria is the legitimacy and believability of the storyline relative to the premise of the show. And what I mean by this is the following: if, for example, a show is based on a fantasy premise, then it needs to effectively create the world-view that you are entering and set the proper context and boundaries in which the fantasy can operate within before it becomes truly unbelievable to the viewer. Similarly with ‘real world’ stories, the same thing applies. The story needs to be rooted in reality and clearly be cognizant of the timeframe and context in which it is set.

One show I have recently been watching is “Yellowjackets” on Showtime. The show’s storyline centers on what happens in the 25 years since a plane crash stranded a fictitious 1996 NJ high school girls soccer team in the wilderness after they won the state championship and were heading to Seattle to participate in a national high school soccer tournament (i.e. a tournament that presumably includes each state’s high school champion). The show is really good and does a great job of balancing the storylines of what has become of the survivors in present day 2021 and the closely held secrets of what really happened to the survivors in the wilderness back in 1996.

As good as the show and the acting is, there are a few glaring gaps with the 1996 portion of the storyline that I just can not get past. I’m going to do my best not to spoil anything about the show.

  • The show says that the survivors of the crash are stranded in the wilderness for 19 months. There is no part of me that would believe that a plane full of upper-middle class (mostly) white girls from a seemingly well-off suburban NJ town would be left out in the wilderness for almost two years. I went to a soccer crazy high school in a town very similar to the one portrayed in the 1996 storyline of “Yellowjackets” and there is no way on earth that parents in the town would have let this go without a full-on 24/7 search and rescue effort until the crash site was discovered.
  • Also depicted in the 1996 storyline are several pretty severe injuries from those that survived the crash – both as a direct result of the crash and from attacks from wildlife in the area where they were stranded. I honestly don’t buy that those that suffered these injuries would have recovered the way they did in the show. The injuries were just too bad, and it would have been too easy for things to go sideways.
  • As is well documented, the show says that the plane crashed ‘in the wilderness of Ontario’ as a result of the pilots having to fly further north than the normal route to Seattle in order to avoid a severe storm. The storm that they were avoiding must have been some sort of super storm because after looking at typical flight paths from Newark to Seattle, they would have really had to go far out of their way to be routed over that area of Canada. Further, the wilderness depicted in the show at the crash site seemed much more in keeping with the terrain of the Canadian Rockies compared to Ontario.
  • I really wish the show did more to bring in the storyline of what was happening in NJ in the weeks or months after the accident. It would have been much more realistic to engage with the families back in NJ and to understand what they were doing to try to determine what happened to the team and their plane. It is such a major gap in the show. Maybe the show-runners did not feel that they could effectively juggle three major story arch’s (1996 crash site, the 1996 families trying to find their kids, and the survivors living ‘today’ in 2021) and while I can appreciate that, you don’t need to look too much further than ‘Game of Thrones’ to see how a show has deftly threaded a similar needle. They could have, for example, dedicated one ‘stand alone’ episode within the season to the families at home in NJ and how they were coping and trying to solve finding the plane. They could have extended the season from 10 to 12 episodes to accommodate the same. There were several options available it would seem to me.

The acting in this show is really good, and there has been a lot of speculation as to where the story will go in its second season. There are some serious “Lost” vibes being bantered about in online forums – mainly due to several ‘cult’ like and super-natural themes that are presented early on and via one key character. Definitely check the show out! Hopefully you enjoy it as much as I am and you can get past the concerns I have noted!

Things That We Stuck In There

For your reading pleasure, published without judgement, the 2021 list of things that Americans got stuck so far up their asses that they had to go to the doctor to have them removed.

The list is sourced from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s database of emergency room visits

BOTTLE CAP

PLASTIC SODA BOTTLE

“WAS ‘JOKING AROUND WITH FRIENDS’ WHEN JOKE WAS TAKEN TOO FAR AND A CAN WAS PUT INTO HIS RECTUM”

CLICK GEL PEN

BRONZE HANDLE OF A TOOL

2 BATTERIES

GLUE BOTTLE

“WENT TO SIT DOWN IN THE BATHTUB AND SAT ON A PLASTIC BOTTLE OF BUBBLE BATH THAT WENT INTO HIS RECTUM”

FLATHEAD SCREWDRIVER

PHILLIPS HEAD SCREWDRIVER

TOOTHBRUSH CASE

PUMP ACTION PLASTIC ALCOHOL DISPENSER

BAR OF SOAP

ROLLING PIN

“STATES HE AND HIS WIFE WERE HAVING SEX WHEN SHE PLACED A RUBBER PENIS IN HIS RECTUM AND IT BROKE OFF”

“STUCK PLASTIC TOILET PAPER HOLDER IN RECTUM DURING SEXUAL ENCOUNTER W/ PARTNER WHILE INTOXICATED”

“REPORTS WAS ‘PLAYING WITH MY WIFE’ WHEN THE CAP OF AN AEROSOL CAN BECAME DISLODGED & STUCK IN HIS RECTUM”

RUBBER BALL

SQUISHY BALL

STRESS BALL

BILLIARD BALL

“PT STATES WAS ATTEMPTING TO HOLD A BALL IN GLUTEAL FOLD & BELIEVES GOT LOST. NOT 100% THAT BALL IS IN RECTUM”

TOY DINOSAUR

TOY ROCKET

PUZZLE PIECES

“SOME MARBLES”

HEXBUG ROBOTIC TOY

“STATES HE AND HIS FRIENDS HAD A PRACTICAL JOKE GOING ON EACH OTHER. THIS TIME, HE WAS SLEEPING WHEN HIS FRIEND PUT A DILDO IN HIS RECTUM AND NOW UNABLE TO GET IT OUT”

SHAMPOO BOTTLE

LOTION BOTTLE

HAIRSPRAY

“HAVING TROUBLE GOING POOP SO HE PLACED A MECHANICAL PENCIL IN HIS RECTUM. PT NOW UNABLE TO REMOVE. PENCIL IS STICKING OUT.”

MAGIC DICE

HEAD OF ACTION FIGURE

TWEEZERS

SCISSOR TONGS

TOWEL WITH A SOCK OVER IT & GLOVE OVER THE SOCK

AXE BODY SPRAY

12? KNIFE HANDLE-FIRST

“WAS DRINKING WITH FRIENDS AND BELIEVES THAT HE MAY HAVE PLACED A NICKEL AND A DIME INTO HIS RECTUM.”

LIGHT BULB

GRASS AND GOLF TEE

CARROT

LOTTERY TICKET

“FOREIGN BODY IN HIS RECTUM. HE STATES HE ‘BELIEVES IT IS A VAPE’ AND IS NOT ANSWERING ANY QUESTIONS.”

How A Tesla Handled The Virginia Snow Storm

Cars and trucks are stranded on sections of Interstate 95 Tuesday Jan. 4, 2022, near Quantico, Va. Close to 48 miles of the Interstate was closed due to ice and snow. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A few days after we rang in 2022, most everyone in the US heard about the massive traffic jam that happened in the northern part of Virginia as a result of some severe snow that hit that region of the country. There were horror stories of people being stuck in sub-zero weather for over 24 hours and cars running out of gas. There were also pundits arguing that if all the cars in this traffic jam were electric, the situation would have been far worse. The reality of that ‘hot take’ is far from the truth, as evidenced by Tesla owner Dan Kanninen, who was unfortunately stuck in that huge backup but came out of it with a really positive story of how his Model 3 Tesla managed the situation:

I watched countless vehicles slide across the road, but my EV expertly navigated the ice. While fellow drivers burned gasoline running their engines to stay warm, my EV intelligently directed power solely to temperature regulation—I did not have to inefficiently burn fuel to power my entire engine in order to keep us safe. As other drivers then fretted about their dwindling gas reserves, my EV intuitively monitored my power supply, giving me the peace of mind that other drivers did not have. Throughout my entire experience in the I-95 quagmire, I knew exactly how much power my EV was using, how much power remained in its battery, and how far I could drive. Additionally, because EV drivers regularly charge our batteries at home, at work, and in our communities, we are less likely to have just a partial charge, so I was well prepared—unlike most gas-powered vehicle drivers, who rarely drive on a full tank of gas. 

When the backup finally subsided, all the gas-powered cars had to scramble to find a gas station to fill up, while his Tesla was able to tell him exactly how much of a charge he had left and how far he would be able to go, and most importantly, the car informed him of where the closest charging station was located.

What I find most impressive about this story is the way that the Tesla had the ‘intelligence’ to understand that the car was not moving and thus, it redistributed its power source towards the things that were needed there – keeping the cabin warm, and ensuring that the driver had entertainment in the way of Netflix on the big console. :)

Family Photography Museum

A wonderful window into the dynamics of typical family photography over the course of a century, from the late 1800’s through the 1990s. The Family Museum is a photo archive of amateur photography from typical families in the UK. The curators have had several exhibits across the UK showing off samples of the more than 25,000 photos that they have accumulated as part of the project

Co-founded in 2017 by filmmaker Nigel Shephard and editor Rachael Moloney, The Family Museum is an archival photography project that evolved from research for a book, A History of Family Photography. This research was rooted in Nigel’s collection of around 25,000 original British amateur family photographs and 300 photo albums, dating from the 1850s to the noughties, put together by Nigel over a period of 30 years.

Through sharing more than a century and a half of found images and visual stories about everyday life and experiences, we believe The Family Museum is a unique resource that can inspire the imagination and connect people. Using our archive as a starting point, we want to explore our understanding of ‘family’ as expressed through vernacular photography, and take the opportunity this collection offers for further research into the history and practice of amateur photography.

The Family Museum – www.familymuseum.co.uk

As someone who has direct roots in the UK, some of the photos from the 1960s through the 1980s in this archive feel extremely familiar to me (similar to the color one above). The modest style of the homes and decor look exactly like the houses of my relatives when I went to the UK to visit them as a kid. Projects like this are so fascinating to me and really open up a window into typical family life from the past century. The site has numerous posts that go deep into the context of several sets within the vast collection including one about a typical British wedding and one detailing the courtship of a Spanish woman and a British man right after World War II. Love stuff like this!